I actually think Bangladesh will start this match as favourites because they are a much-improved side compared to five years ago if you take note of recent performances in the Asia Cup and the way they tackled Sri Lanka.
Even in that match against England, they weren’t overawed. Shakib Al Hasan scored a hundred and at no point did it feel that Bangladesh was totally outplayed. Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar are providing a good start and after that, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah are consolidating the middle order.
In the lower order, they have good hitters like Mashrafe Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin. If Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza bowl well, then Bangladesh can defeat Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne but Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are out of form. This is not the Sri Lanka of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
Lasith Malinga is at the fag end of his career. They have Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal in their bowling unit. But they don’t have any awe-inspiring bowler in their squad. So, in my book, Bangladesh definitely starts as favourites and can upset Sri Lanka. But in that case, I won’t call it an upset.
(Featured Image: Twitter/Cricket World Cup)
About the Author
Sports journalist. Author. Rhodes scholar & adjunct professor @Monashuni. Sr. research fellow at Univ. of Central Lancashire